Ipswich oh so close to cricket title
TURNING 50 later this year, Craig Jesberg remains a handy cricketer with immense pride representing Ipswich.
So after top scoring for his team in a stunning tie, Jesberg was clearly disappointed with Ipswich's effort in Sunday's Plunkett Cup final in Toowoomba.
Although Ipswich bowled out the home side on the second last ball, both teams finished on 198 runs.
Toowoomba's Second XI claimed the title being the host centre, even though they were lucky to be in the final after some controversy in the semi-final.
Toowoomba had lost that match, only advancing after opponents Warehouse fielded an unqualified player.
For former Australian Country representative and Plunkett Cup player/coach Jesberg, Sunday's final denied Ipswich a chance to win its first representative title in a decade.
"It was a disappointing way to end the season but honestly we lost it ourselves,'' the straight-shooting cricketer said.
Ipswich bowled 33 wides and four no-balls.
"We dealt ourselves our own blows,'' Jesberg said.
Jesberg gave his team a positive start with 42 off 54 balls opening the innings.
But it was bowlers Andrew McIntosh and captain Nick Vellacott who did the damage in Toowoomba's middle order.
Legspinner McIntosh snared 3/38 with medium pacer Vellacott taking 3/34.
As for the rare tie, Jesberg can recall being involved in a few previous deadlocks in other one-day matches but not in Plunkett Cup or Webb Shield.
"The boys were up for it,'' said the well-travelled cricketer nicknamed "Jezza''.
"They hadn't won a Plunkett Cup since 2006/07. It's been a long time.
"To come so close - in the first final I've had in five years looking after rep cricket - was disappointing.''
The first grand final between Ipswich and Toowoomba was washed out earlier this month despite Ipswich batting out its overs.
Although the Plunkett Cup concept is to promote youth, Ipswich lost a number of its players to school and other commitments as the season progressed.
Experienced players like Jesberg and a strong English influence helped the next generation remaining loyal to Ipswich's Plunkett Cup campaign.
Ipswich finished second in its pool behind Toowoomba, after wins over Beaudesert and Beenleigh.
Ipswich reached the final after beating Sub Districts last month.
Toowoomba hosted the final by default after their great escape in the semi-final.
At 2/93 on Sunday, Toowoomba were cruising to victory.
"They were well on top,'' Jesberg said.
"We got a run out and a couple of good catches to Blake Raper changed the game.''
But it was not enough.
With scores locked at 198 and Toowoomba needing one run to win off the final two balls, No.10 Jacob Sommerfield was run out to see the game end in a tie.